Drone Training
Procure and operate your own drone system for your forestry or conservation project. OpenForests’ drone training delivers all basic knowledge.
drones, UAV, training, conservation, forestry
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Drone Training

Be in control of your own mapping

Introduction to the use of drone systems for forestry and conservation

Learn the potential of drones to monitor and map your projects


Planned Workshop


  • At the moment there is no workshop planned!


Please feel free to reach out and plan a workshop together with us at your location.

Procure and operate your own drone system. OpenForests’ drone training delivers all basic knowledge.




Introduction to the basics of civil drone technology and applications for forestry, conservation and landscape management.




Training of everything from drone configuration, mission planning and execution, to data processing.


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Conducted by a professional drone operator and available worldwide in four different languages.


The Workshop Program


The theoretical part of the workshop outlines the basics of civil drones and their application for conservation and forestry.


M1: Drones

This module introduces to the participants the world of civil drones. They will learn the basics of drone systems, the different types of devices and their main characteristics and functionalities. The participants will understand that not every drone type is suitable for every job and that it is important to select the right equipment to be successful. The module includes an extensive discussion about advantages and disadvantages of different drone types and provides a differentiated view on possibilities and limitations of drones for remote sensing in comparison to satellite and manned airborne based applications.

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  • Definition of a drone
  • Drone types
  • Fields of application
  • Components of a drone system
  • Materials
  • Functions
  • Phases of a flight mission
  • Drones versus other remote sensing technologies


Duration:  1/2 day


M2: Sensors

It is the sensor that transform a drone into a powerful remote sensing tool. In this module, participants will get to know the different sensors types and models available on the market as well as some of the typical applications.

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  • Presentation of sensor types:
    • Video cameras
    • RGB cameras
    • (Near-) Infrared (NIR)
    • Heat cameras
    • Multispectral
    • Hyperspectral
    • LIDAR (Light Detection And Ranging)
    • Other non-light sensors (e.g. chemical detectors)
  • Role of (N-)IR and multispectral sensing in biology
  • Introduction to airborne LIDAR systems


Duration: 1/2 day


M3: Photogrammetry

One of the most popular remote sensing methods practiced with drones is photogrammetry-based mapping. This technique allows the generation of high-quality orthophotomaps and the acquisition of 3D surface information. The generated data can be analyzed in many ways.

Participants will get a basic understanding of the principles of the photogrammetric processes for the generation of orthophotmaps and their implications on how a flight is planned.

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  • Basic principles of photogrammetry
  • Employment of photogrammetry for mapping
  • Presentation of different software on the market

M4: Forest Mapping

As in other fields, there are many advantages of using drones as remote sensing tools in the forestry sector. The most popular application is mapping with conventional RGB or multispectral cameras and photogrammetric methods to generate three-dimensional surface information and high-resolution orthophotomaps of vegetation coverage. The data can be used to determine tree positions or tree heights. The module will show the possibilities and limitations of photogrammetric methods for forest mapping and monitoring. In addition, the advantages of laser scanning systems (i.e. LIDAR) as a powerful alternative to ‘see’ the inner forest structure will be presented and discussed.

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  • Photogrammetry-based mapping of forests
  • Problems and challenges
  • Advantages of high resolution orthophotomaps and DEM
  • Examples of possible data analyses (Determination of tree position,Vegetation cover change detection, Growth measurement)
  • 3D model generation of single trees
  • LIDAR-based mapping of forests


Duration: 1/2 day


M5: Conservation

There are very inspiring examples of drones being used in conservation and there is a huge potential to develop applications in this field. In this module, we will present some of the existing applications which have significantly improved the study and protection of natural resources. From simple photography in forest audits in Indonesia to complex ‘artificial intelligence’-based monitoring systems in the fight against poaching activities in Africa, this module contains a large spectrum of conservancy related drone applications.

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  • The emergence of conservation drones: a story
  • Environmental auditing (video & photography)
  • Animal search (IR cameras)
  • Study of orangutan canopy nests (video & mapping)
  • Anti-poaching systems (video, mapping, artificial intelligence)
  • Remote wireless data collection (wifi systems)
  • Disease and infestation detection (IR cameras)
  • Seed planting (transportation)
  • Animal observation (video and photography)
  • Detection of illegal activities, e.g. illegal logging (video and mapping)
  • Ground truthing for satellite classification
  • etc.


Duration: 1/2 day


M6: Legal Requirements

With the increase in the number of drones operating worldwide, governments have gradually established new laws to regulate their use by professionals and as well as for leisure activities. In many cases, these rules represent a significant limitation for remote sensing operations, more than any technical and practical limitation. With this module, we will go through the specific legal situation of your country and discuss what the implications for typical drone-based remote sensing work are.


In the practical part of the workshop participants will learn how to plan a mission, prepare the drone system, execute flights and process acquired data.We can teach how to use different fixed-wing and multi-rotor drone systems, devices based on open-source technologies or ready-to-use equipment from the companies SenseFly, Mikrokopter and DJI.*

From the methodology point of view, the focus lies on photogrammetry based mapping. Participants will learn how to produce Digital Elevation Models (DEM), 3D models and orthophotomaps using Agisoft PhotoScan software.*

In case other special applications or technical configurations are needed, we support organizations with studies and consultancies. (See below) .



* We are in no way affiliated with these companies and do not officially represent them.


M7: Mission Planning

Number one cause for the loss of drones during flights is a not well conceived planning. Although drone systems become more and more sophisticated and secure and are able to execute missions in a fully autonomous way, the importance of a well-planned mission and a responsible operator is indisputable.

Beside all formal preparation and planning steps, this first block of the training will give a special focus on typical beginner’s mistakes.

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  • Phases of a mission
  • Assembling the drone
  • Preparing the camera (or sensor)
  • Planning software
  • LIPO (Lithium polymer) batteries (Working principles, Security issues, Charging method, Types)


Duration: 2 to 3 days

M7: Drone Setup & Field training

Learning by doing! After an initial demonstration of a full mapping mission, participants have the possibility to prepare and carry out drone missions themselves.

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  • Flight and mission simulation
  • Drone setup
  • Mission planning
  • Mission execution: launching, controlling, steering, landing


Duration: 2 to 5 days


M8: Post-processing

A drone-based remote sensing job ends successfully when all acquired data are successfully processed. In this module, the participants will learn how to georeference the aerial photos and process them using the software PhotoScan.

More details...


  • Georeferencing aerial photos
  • Full phototogrammetric process
  • Tips and tricks during the process
  • Importing data into open-source GIS software (e.g. Quantum-GIS) for further analysis


Duration: 1 day

Interested in learning more?



What participants are saying about the workshop

About the instructor

Dr. Patrick Ribeiro is co-founder and CEO of OpenForests. He is responsible for the development of drone-based forestry and conservation application as well as the execution of mapping missions. Patrick has been working with drones for the past 7 years in countries such as Germany, Portugal, Costa Rica, Panama, Colombia, Ecuador, Peru, Suriname and Indonesia.

In my most recent encounters with first-time users of drones, such as biology students, foreign development assistance employees or CEOs of plantation companies, I have detected over and over again the same beginner mistakes, starting with the acquisition of incompatible drone systems for a certain applications, e.g. wanting to map thousands of hectares with a small consumer-grade quadcopter, vehicle lost due to an imprudent mission planning or bad data processing as result of wrong flight settings. One of the major goals of my workshop is to sensitize future drone owners and operators about these typical mistakes, allowing them to avoid having to go through the same unpleasant experiences. At the end of the workshop participants will be equipped with the knowledge needed to carry out successful drone missions.


The workshop and training modules can be hold in four different languages.









Need more information?

Just get in contact with us, we will clarify all missing details.